Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who sparked off a fresh row over reports of his hugging pro-Khalistan separatist leader Gopal Chawla in Pakistan, on Thursday claimed that there were probably 5-10,000 pictures taken of and with him and he does not know who is Gopal Chawla. The Congress leader was replying to the allegations levelled against him soon after he returned to India following the opening ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan.
On being asked about the picture posted by noted Khalistani hatemonger Gopal Chawla on his Facebook, Sidhu said, " there was so much love in Pakistan that every day probably 10,000 pictures were being taken of me alone and with several people there". "I don't know who Gopal Chawla is," he asserted.
Navjot Singh Sidhu after returning to India: There were probably 5-10,000 pictures taken of and with me there(in Pakistan), I don't know who is Gopal Chawla pic.twitter.com/jSH3Zrhuaa— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2018
Trouble found Sidhu after Chawla on Thursday posted the snap on his Facebook page where he is seen standing next to Sidhu during the latter's visit to Pakistan for the much-awaited ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.
Early in the day Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also took a sideways jibe at Sidhu, saying that the leader "was hugging the General (Qamar Javed Bajwa), who is killing our men. He even spent 3 days with him there. Even his photo is out with the terrorist. He has become a Pakistan agent after going there".
Badal was addressing media at the sidelines of the food-park inauguration event in Kahagaria and further asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to clear his stance over the matter.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal: Sidhu was hugging the General who is killing our men. He even spent 3 days with him there. Even his photo is out with the terrorist. He has become a Pakistan agent after going there. Rahul Gandhi should clearly state his stand on this. pic.twitter.com/rHQfmztsIn— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2018
The war of words between Badal and Sidhu started back in August when the latter visited Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his friend and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan as Pakistan Prime Minister. Sidhu's Islamabad trip to take part in Khan's oath-taking ceremony evoked a wide condemnation from across the party lines, with the BJP accusing him of acting like a "Pakistani agent". Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also slammed Sidhu for lying to people over the Kartarpur gurdwara corridor.
The foundation stone of the route was laid down by Imran Khan on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. The Kartarpur corridor along the India-Pakistan border is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur in Punjab. The corridor will allow Sikh pilgrims a direct access to the historic Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak Dev breathed his last in 1539.